Cats are brilliant communicators but unless you understand their language it’s not always so easy to tell what they are saying. We vocalize easily and conversation is our main communication skill. People tend to ignore body language but for cats it is the most important method of contact. They have a wide variety of movement and postures using every part of their body – and they all mean something – to another cat!
When the eyes are half closed and the ears upright, it means that our feline friend is happy. A friendly greeting is a quick narrowing of the eyes, almost like a smile. Cats like it if you do this back to them too. Whiskers that are sideways and close together express contentedness and calm. The position of the head also is a communication. The little cat in the picture (called Dimity) is bunched up and wary. She’s ready for flight if we come any nearer.
A cat who is pleased and happy will relax eyes and whiskers together. The state of the pupils is not really an indication of mood or communication as they dilate according to the light. When cats rub noses or fuss up against one another or people it’s becasue they want to give you a greeting that is submissive and non-threatening.
Every time a cat approaches us or another cat, there is an element of communication. Of course the one we take most notice of is ‘I’m hungry, fetch me a pouch please’.